Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike…and Nina and Cassandra. These are the six quirky characters rounding off Christopher Durang’s 2013 Tony award winning play, currently playing on the Arts Club’s Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. Set in modern day New York and predictably containing many Chekhovian references, the story’s six characters cover many age demographics and social classes, hilariously juxtaposing one another enough to mimic an actual family.
The characters are each varied and interesting in their own right, with occasional moments of kindness expressed towards one another amidst their self-centered egos. It is story of self indulgence, sadness and, ultimately, love. Of growing older, of missed opportunities, of failed attempts, of shifting perspectives. It draws on facets of Chekhov’s original plays yet places them in the 21st century, where technology reigns supreme and the older generation struggles to keep up with it.
Vanya and Sonia are paid a visit by their movie sister Masha and her boyfriend Spike. Sibling rivalries and relationships are tried and everyone’s individual issues are beautifully brought to the forefront. The most outstanding moment of the play for me was quiet Vanya’s explosive monologue about the past versus the present, about the disconnect present in today’s world due to our rapidly developing technology.
It is one hell of a talented cast. And script. And direction. And set. To sum up: it is one hell of a production; or, perhaps more accurately, a heavenly production. It is what theatre should be; relevant, entertaining and thought provoking. It’s about life, and how rapidly it changes and passes, and how happiness can result from initially unwelcome occurrences, shifting priorities and perspectives forever. Thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining and ultimately uplifting.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike plays at The Arts Club Stanley Industrial stage until April 19.